• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Old Hall Marshes - BirdForum Opus

Stub.png This article is incomplete.
This article is missing one or more sections. You can help the BirdForum Opus by expanding it.

England, Essex


This is an extensive and remote area of grazing marshes at the mouth of the Blackwater Estuary in Essex. In addition to the grazing land there are reedbeds, freshwater fleets, tidal creeks and two small islands in the estuary.


Notable Species

Breeding birds include Northern Shoveler and Common Pochard, Water Rail, Common Redshank, Common Tern and Bearded Tit with Pied Avocet in recent years but the main interest is in wintering waterfowl.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Eurasian Wigeon occur in thousands along with Greater White-fronted Goose, Common Teal and Common Shelduck. Bewick's Swan winters here in good numbers, the same group that is seen at the nearby Abberton Reservoir. In small numbers, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Eider and Long-tailed Duck occur regularly on the fleets or offshore as well as divers, Great Crested Grebe and Slavonian Grebe.

Great Bittern is usually present and Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl hunt the marshes and winter passerines include Twite.

Waders such as Grey Plover, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and Eurasian Curlew are present in winter but a greater variety occurs on passage when Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper also occur.


This is an excellent area for rarities with Glossy Ibis, Red-breasted Goose and Desert Wheatear recorded in recent years.

In 2001 a female Wilson's Phalarope was present on and off for three months.


Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Bewick's Swan, Greater White-fronted Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Pied Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Bearded Tit, European Goldfinch, Twite, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Areas of Interest

To do

Access and Facilities

This reserve can be entered from a minor road to Salcott from Tollesbury. After 1km a track on the right is a public footpath leading to the seawall coastal footpath. This path round the marshes is more than 12km in length and as the area is very exposed adequate clothing is essential in winter.

Grid reference: TL959122

Contact Details

Tel: 01621 869015

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve